March 27, 2015

The shameful state of bus-safety advances

WASHINGTON — Observing that her five-year-old soccer-mom van contains safety technology more advanced than is integrated into many motor coaches, National Transportation Safety Board Chairperson Deborah Hersman March 30 chided Congress and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for dragging their feet on bus safety legislation and regulation. Hersman testified before the Senate Transportation Subcommittee [...]

UTU seeks worker protection from hazmat

WASHINGTON — A doubling in the number of damaged or leaking hazardous materials containers shipped by rail has prompted the UTU and six other rail labor organizations to petition the Federal Railroad Administration for enhanced safety standards to protect rail workers and the public. Rail labor is concerned that the FRA routinely grants special permission [...]

Saving your life, limbs and career

Imagine baseball without rules against bean balls, football without helmets or rules against clipping, roadways without stop signs, and cars without seat belts. Rules have a purpose. On railroads the rules — developed over more than a century-and-a-half — are to save lives and limbs and keep trains running without incident. There is no more [...]

Why PTC? ‘Cause people aren’t hogs & logs

WASHINGTON — Two commuter railroads — Los Angeles Metrolink and Chicago Metra – get it. They recognize that commuters aren’t hogs and logs on freight trains, and passenger and crew safety is paramount. Unfortunately, 24 other commuter railroads don’t get it. Under the umbrella of the American Public Transit Association (APTA), those other commuter railroads [...]

‘Tis the season – for deadly yard accidents

Safety 1st; Safety First

It’s winter — the three months of the year during which a significant number of yard fatalities and career-ending injuries occur. The FRA says risk is concentrated in cold-weather states, but those in warmer climates are not immune, because darkness is a factor along with cold weather and slippery ground conditions that contribute to falls. [...]

Worker input crucial to reducing rail risks

If a congressionally ordered railroad risk reduction program is to be effective, the Federal Railroad Administration must include railroad employees and their labor unions in the process of evaluating and managing the program. That is the message seven rail labor organizations sent to the FRA Feb. 8 in response to an earlier FRA notice of [...]

Senate Commerce Committee members

WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats and Republicans have finalized appointments to the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. Most transportation legislation moving through the Senate affecting air, bus and rail safety and economic regulation is under the initial jurisdiction of the Commerce Committee, which is chaired by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.). Most transit legislation is the [...]

This is the season — for deadly yard accidents

It’s winter — the three months of the year during which a significant number of yard fatalities and career-ending injuries occur. The FRA says risk is concentrated in cold-weather states, but those in warmer climates are not immune, because darkness is a factor along with cold weather and slippery ground conditions that contribute to falls. [...]

Record profits, but UP opposes PTC costs

On the same day (Jan. 20) Union Pacific reported record fourth quarter and record calendar year 2010 profits, UP Chairman Jim Young said he is headed to Washington to meet with President Obama’s economic advisers to oppose a congressional mandate that railroads implement crash-avoidance positive train control by year-end 2015. UP told investors its 2010 [...]

We’ll keep pressing to improve, protect

James Stem; Stem, James

By James StemUTU National Legislative Director January brings a new session of Congress and the start of state legislative sessions across the country. Our UTU legislative team in Washington and our state legislative directors will be on guard protecting the interests of our members. Two old UTU friends are in charge of key transportation committees [...]